Selling Your House During The Winter Months

As the days continue to get shorter and the holidays get closer, you may feel as if your time is running out when it comes to getting an acceptable offer on your home, and finally closing the deal.

It can be easy to check out of the selling process during the winter months, because there are fewer buyers and showings. But, winter can still offer the right seller a great opportunity, as buyers are everywhere and yours might be right around the corner!

Here, we’ll discuss four ways to keep your home-for-sale looking its best even in the dead of winter.

1. Don’t forget curb appeal

Winter may not seem like the optimum time to be selling a home. However, there are things that you can do that will brighten up the curb appeal of your home even on the dreariest of days.

If you live in a climate where snow is likely, remember to keep a path clear from the curb to the door. No one is going to get a good first impression about your home if they have to struggle to get inside. Keep all your walks shoveled and clear of snow. Make sure to spread salt or sand to reduce slipperiness.

If you’ve decorated the front of your home for fall, now is the time to start thinking about getting rid of the pumpkins and corn stalks. Nothing says “Doesn’t take care of the property” more than seasonal decorations that are currently out of season or worse, moldy (in the case of old carved pumpkins).

Winter weather is messy, but that doesn’t mean that the entrance to your house can’t be neat and tidy. Also, make sure that your foyer or entryway has plenty of rugs for wet boots, coat hooks for coats and hats, and a stand for wet and drippy umbrellas.

2. Don’t overdo the holiday decorations

Simple and tasteful holiday decorating is a wonderful way to showcase the beauty of your home. However, keep in mind that a little decorating goes a long way. (Think more along the lines of the home in Home Alone, as opposed to the home in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.) If you’re one of those people who tends to go all out during the holidays when it comes to decorating, this may be the year to reign it in a little.

What is traditional to you might be over the top to a potential buyer. It’s better to err on the side of caution when it comes to holiday decorations. After all, you want buyers to see and appreciate your home and its features, and they can’t do that when they’re being distracted by your decorations.

Staging a home for showing is all about allowing the potential buyer to see their own possessions inside your home, so even though you love your Grinch collection, it’ll have to sit this year out. The same goes for overly religious decor. You don’t know who will be walking through your door, ready to make an offer, and you don’t want to alienate or turn off any potential legitimate buyer. In the larger picture, taming things down during the holidays to secure a buyer for your house is a small price to pay.

3. Let there be light

Winter days are short and sunlight is at a premium. When you know you have a showing, open all the curtains and blinds and turn on all the lights. Even the lights inside closets and cabinets should be turned on, and then the doors re-closed. Remember that you are trying to create the illusion of light and warmth.

If you have a fireplace or woodstove, fire it up! Turn the thermostat to a few degrees warmer than usual before the showing, for a couple of reasons. First, the last thing you want your potential buyer to feel is cold when they walk into your home. They will immediately think of having to install more installation, a more powerful furnace, etc.

The second reason is that, if you turn the thermostat up prior to the showing, but turn it down a couple degrees when the buyer arrives, your furnace will not kick on, and if you have a loud furnace, you’ll immediately realize this benefit.

4. Focus on cozy

The lights, the warmth… now to create the perfect cozy trifecta, you’ll want to create a warm, inviting scent within your walls, too. As with holiday decor, the key here is to be subtle with the scent.

First, make sure that there aren’t any unpleasant scents lingering around. Take care of those first by doing whatever you have to do to get rid of them. Then, choose a subtly scented candle or two and light them about 30 minutes prior to the showing.

You can also put a couple drops of vanilla extract on a pie tin and put that into the oven. Turn the oven on low, and your home will fill with the scent of baking cookies. Alternatively, simmer cinnamon sticks or cloves in water on the stove for a festive aroma.

For All Current Listings, visit our website or call or text:  252-333-0939

Raking and Burning Leaves

Raking and Burning Leaves………..

                    A CarolinaEast LifeStyle Event

Jumping into those fluffy, gorgeous-colored mounds of leaves is an iconic tradition in the Fall season (unless you live in New Mexico). It’s probably the only time children consider raking the yard somewhat rewarding. Well, maybe not these days, with the instant gratification of video games and endless streams of media.

What about us adults? Do we want to spend every weekend, bent over, raking the yard after working a 40+ hour week?

Enter April Medlen. She shows us a video of a guy who came up with a genius hack. Using a simple sheet of cardboard, he turns a leaf covered yard into piles of playtime within minutes!

Here you go. A perfect combination of simplicity and genius.


Mr. Inventor !!! This is just the front yard Brian Shreves

Posted by April Medlen on Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Via Facebook | April Medlen

If you would like more information on the CarolinaEast Life Style an home available for sale, go to :

To contact us:  text or call 252-333-0939

Country Living with “In Town” Convenience

    CarolinaEast Life Styles

Country living with “In Town” convenience

By:  Brian FitzSimons, Realtor

If you ever had the desire to build  a secluded retreat with all the comforts of home, but surrounded by wilderness, yet within ten minutes of shops, hospitals, a Marina and Golf, then you are aspiring to the Carolina East Lifestyle, and I know just the property where you can bring all this to fruition.  

Riversound is, as the name suggests, located on a river, but close to the Albemarle Sound.    It is 1,000 acres of unspoiled forest bordered by the Yeopim River.   This development got off to a rocky start just as the 2008 downturn in the Real Estate market occurred, leading to the Bankruptcy of the original developer.

(Link to Riversound HOA website,, )

All that is in the past, the development has been taken over by the homeowners, the roads are in, there is a launch ramp and a clubhouse as well as a sheltered marina where you can keep your boat, a children’s playground, and a state of the art sewage system is in operation allowing anyone to obtain their building permits and build.     

There are many spectacular waterfront lots, but if you don’t mind a few minutes drive, you can save lots of money by investing in one of the non-waterfront lots, and keep your boat at the development’s private marina.

If total seclusion and privacy are what you are looking for, there are farmette acreage lots designed for people who would like to have a mini farm or would prefer not to see their neighbors.   These mini acreages are where you can have all the amenities close to hand, but still feel like you are the only ones left in the world.  

Due to the slow start and problems at the beginning of the development, many of the original buyers of the lots have been forced to look elsewhere to realize their dreams.   This means that there are many lots for sale at knockdown prices.  I know of one 16 acre lot that you can snap up now for under $50,000.    Some smaller residential lots can be purchased for around $20,000, which considering the amenities is a steal.   

I can’t think of anywhere else around here that you can join the Carolina East Lifestyle and get so much for so little.   This opportunity will not last long.   Once the word gets out, Riversound will become one of the most desirable neighborhoods, and lots will become hard to get at any price.

For more information and details on the lots that are available, contact me today.

Brian FitzSimons: email:, Cell : 252-312-9042

Holiday Celebrations in Edenton

Join us in celebrating the holidays

             The CarolinaEast Life Styles way…

If you would like to be a part of our community, contact any of our experienced Realtors by phone or text at:

 252- 333-0939


Visit our website: for all current listings


Red Skies Tonight, Sailors Delight

This is a great article written by Miles Layton, Editor of our local newspaper, the Chowan Herald.  It illustrates the CarolinaEast Life Style. 

Chowan County round-up: Red skies tonight, sailors delight


Round-up 1.jpg

By Miles Layton

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

I am 16-years-old again…only this time it is a sail boat instead of a car.

Yes. We bought a sailboat. Very nervous. I’m learning how to steer and all the other things associated with being a boat owner.

I bought it because it was a lifelong dream to own a sailboat – freedom – same as it is at 16 when you turn the key, maybe go cruising downtown.

I want to thank some folks in Edenton who made this possible. Brian Fitzsimons found the ad on craigslist and advised me that this is the boat for our family. The morning after we bought the boat, he gave my wife a ride downtown and helped her to properly dock the boat. Though I aspire to live on the boat, if I ever buy another house again it will be from Fitzsimons, a realtor at United Country Dowd & Forbes.

And thanks goes to Sheriff Dwayne Goodwin’s deputies who carried me and my family home late – LATE – Monday night when we made it to Edenton Bay. Our 8-hour trip from the Alligator River to home took, well, a lot longer than anyone anticipated – 12+ hours.

Chauffeur extraordinaire Ricky Roberts drove my wife to the Alligator River Marina to retrieve our car too.

Scotty Harrell, a seasoned mariner, helped us park the boat in a slip at his place – Edenton Marina – a few days later. He parked it backwards so that the stern faces the dock and the bow is aimed at Pembroke Creek – a good view.

Maybe a word on inspiration should go to Susan Beckwith, owner of the Inner Banks Inn. During a recent interview, she told me about how she bought the inn with no previous experience with running an bed and breakfast. She wanted a change. I thought a lot about that, so … I took a leap of faith and bought a sailboat.

If you’re interested, here is a recap of the maiden voyage. The rest of this column, maybe pure vanity, but there is a need to get this confession out on the printed page. However, ignore the rest if you are pressed for time. Put it aside or toss it in the trash.

Let’s face it. None of us are getting any younger. One day you wake up and realize, not only are you not immortal, but perhaps it is time to begin living versus surviving.

Realize though, living is frightening for most. No one wants to learn how to drive or to start over so late in life, but … the status quo was so boring, so very boring and slowly lethal.

And no, I’m too young for the midlife crisis. Not true. Moreover, I’ve done the expensive sports car thing and enjoyed some of the excesses of life that most can only imagine; All a mirage like sailing toward a point on the horizon at sunset – St. Elmo’s Fire.

No, I wanted to do something scary, challenging. A yacht. You could die if you screw it up. Ever see “Perfect Storm” “Gilligan’s Island” or “Titanic”?

But…a sailboat also offers freedom. I could pick up tomorrow and sail to a distant port, change my name, erase my storied past and make all the same mistakes all over again or not.

Bought a 28-foot sailboat from Mike Hamilton – his family’s first sailboat. Sleeps six. Well maintained. Thanks. We’ll take good care of it.

The boat was docked at a marina near Oriental – a place that doesn’t look that far away on the map. Well…it is. Steered the whole 140 nautical miles – two Sounds, four rivers (Neuse, Pamlico, Pungo, Alligator).

An experienced sailor, Navy brat Pat Joy of Oriental helped me sail the boat those first couple of days – a journey that I thought might take two to three days of easy sailing at the most. Not so.

Soon after putting the key in the ignition, we were sailing. Poured a beer in the river to pay tribute to Joy’s friend, Captain Eddy who died last year. RIP.

Needed gas, so we stopped at a very posh marina to fill up the tank. No brakes. Nearly crashed into a quarter million dollar yacht, but by God’s grace, I was able to avoid that fate.

We sailed – motored – the boat up the Neuse River to the Pamlico Sound. That night, we dropped anchor in the Sound – nothing around.

Celebration time. Word to the wise. Wine and waves, not necessarily a good mix.

Next day, we sailed up the Pungo River to Belhaven Marina. Docking in this marina was much easier than the last place I stopped for gas. Gregg Baker, the general manager and harbor master, was very good to us. He drove us to a gas station to buy more gas and to Food Lion.

Baker had a long career in manufacturing before deciding one day that he had had enough of the “rat race.” So very agreed. Wanting more out of life, Baker and his longtime friend Brad Condon set up shop at the marina — a good place to stay. Wifi. Walking distance to restaurants. Also, the marina has VERY clean restrooms and showers. Reasonably priced. I recommend a stopover in Belhaven to anyone. Check it out at

Next morning, a pelican was perched briefly on the sailboat – a good omen. Joy and I traveled up the Pungo River and the Intercoastal Waterway en route to the Alligator River. I got a chance to see a lot of other sailboats and large power boats.

Worth noting, liberals own sailboats and conservatives own power boats – or so I’m told. Crap. And I thought I would be able to avoid politics on the water. My wife is a liberal and I’m…well…not, so maybe it’ll be OK.

Intercoastal Waterway and Alligator River – amazing! Nothing out there. No houses. No people. Nothing. Trees and marshlands all around. I imagine it is like traveling up the Amazon.

We went through(?) that draw bridge separating Tyrell and Dare counties to the dock at the Alligator River Marina. There I learned that docking is a patience-building task, so it is better not to gun it into the marina.

Alligator River Marina is a nice place to stay that offers a lobby with a television, clean bathrooms and wifi. Located at the foot of the Alligator River, the marina is not too far from places and ports nearby like Manteo and the Outer Banks. Reasonable rates. Maybe check out their page on Facebook.

That night, a major storm blew through so travel the next day was not happening. Because the marina is close to home, my wife and I were able to drive Mr. Joy home that day to Pamlico County. Mr. Joy said I could handle the rest of the tour – Alligator River to the Albemarle Sound en route to Edenton.

Class was over. Exam time. My wife and children came along to help me make the last leg of the journey home. When it is supposed to be easy, it never is…

The day started with a small craft advisory – not a good time to be on the water. However, we had no choice. School was out and our family’s tight schedule demanded that we get the boat home.

I steered into the waves – many of them 4-5 feet high. A lot of wind. Brisk that day. The going was very slow. We were tossed around like a fishing bobber. Either over the starboard side or via plastic bags, the kids and wife made their peace more than a few times with the Albemarle Sound.

And ever try taking a piss break in a moving sailboat? Inside, well…the walls… Outside it is not any easier in restless seas with an arm and ankle wrapped to a sail’s guide wire while leaning over the starboard side.

The advisory was supposed to end, but was extended and really, though the Sound grew calmer late that afternoon, it was not easy going. Wasn’t supposed to be on this vision quest.

To add to our woes, the anchor perched on the railing by the bow kept slipping from one of its hooks, so my wife had to crawl up out there to reattach it multiple times to get it to stay while I steered. Boat would go up 10 feet in the air, drop 10 feet.

Later, we needed to fuel up. That’s not an easy task while in 1-2 foot waves in the middle of the Sound. Engine needed some oil too.

Near sunset, we saw the Route 32 bridge between Chowan and Washington counties. That was divine. Sigh of relief. More or less, we had made it home but the journey was not over – not by a long shot.

We put the boat into full throttle so as to be able to pass under the bridge in daylight. That didn’t happen. It was dark and getting late, so we decided to drop anchor in the Sound.

Trouble was…we couldn’t get more than a few feet of anchor line out because the rope had become stuck. Imagine that. A family in the dark, a wife and husband doing their best to steer, untangle an anchor line and keep the kids calm.

The anchor line didn’t untangle, meaning no anchor.

No anchor and with rescue a distant possibility, we had no choice but to keep going – in it to win it. For whatever reason, that scene from the movie “Footloose” popped into my head. During that chicken contest with tractors, Kevin Bacon, aka Ren McCormack, realizes his shoe is tied to the brake – he can’t stop. He knows he has to win it or die trying, so he resigns himself to fate and pushes the gas pedal.

That was me, my wife and our family with that boat that night spinning around in the Sound.

We started traveling to the bridge. Red and green lights mounted at the tallest point on the bridge allowed me to thread the needle and cross under. Sigh of relief.

Night sailing/boating. I don’t recommend it. Never again.

Unable to see navigation markers, my wife guided us using a program she had downloaded onto her cellphone. Fortunately, through God’s grace, sharp eyesight and laserlike focus on the cellphone’s nav chart, we didn’t hit any power lines, crash into any obstacles or get tangled in the rope lines leading to crab pots submerged in the murky depths below.

My wife kept us alive – well…she’s my hero.

When we saw the lights from the Roanoke River Lighthouse and the 1767 Chowan County Courthouse, we knew we were home. That’s a pleasant sight. Home. Even if we hit a cypress stump or tree, we could still swim to safety.

Late that night, we tied up the sailboat as best as we could and stepped off onto the dock. Alive!

Staff writer Rebecca Bunch was up when we staggered into the office – she’s more of a night person than I am. She called Sheriff Goodwin and his folks helped us to get home to Rocky Hock Landing. Forever grateful.

Epic trip.

Thanks be to God for preserving our family and the good folks of Chowan County for helping us in our time of need.

Now to change my name. Move to Bermuda.

Sailing the Albemarle Loop

Cruising up the Roanoke River to Plymouth

                             Blog submitted by Brian FritSimons, Realtor

We found ourselves unexpectedly in Edenton for the weekend when we had planned to be in Asheville. So, it was sort of a free weekend when we could do something spontaneous.    One trip we had never taken by boat was from Edenton to Plymouth.Edenton is graced by a restored lighthouse that used to be stationed at the mouth of the Roanoke River, so it seemed fitting to pay a visit to its original location.

We set off in our sailboat, complete with the cat, and sailed gently towards the corner of the Albemarle Sound that housed the mouths of the Roanoke and the Cashie Rivers.   Would we be able to work out which was which?

Lighthouse in Edenton Bay

The land is low lying, so there are few landmarks to indicate your location and we did not have GPS on our boat so we were feeling our way towards the shore with an eye on the depth sounder.    The Albemarle Sound is quite shallow, only going down to about 18ft, even in the middle.   As we neared the land the depth dropped to 10ft, our boat draws 5ft, so we were OK.

Eventually, we picked up the navigation mark that had taken the place of the lighthouse.    Certainly, it would have made finding the river mouth a lot easier if the lighthouse was still in operation.   However, the reduction in river traffic has made it unviable so we have to put up with a post with a Red triangle.

Once we were in the river, we had to motor as the trees down each bank shielded us from the wind.   The wildlife and unspoiled landscape on each side were probably exactly the same three hundred years ago, so we were able to pretend that we were the first people to find it.

That illusion was rudely shattered when we rounded a bend in the river and came upon the bridge that takes Route 45 across the estuaries of both the Cashie and Roanoke rivers.    Shortly after passing under the bridge signs of man’s activity became apparent with homes and commercial buildings peeping through the foliage on the south side of the river.

Soon we were at Plymouth where we located the town docks by a replica of an earlier Roanoke River Lighthouse.    The docks where we tied up have been recently completed in an effort to attract itinerant boaters.   They are brand new and offer Water and Electricity and you get two nights free dockage, once you have checked in at the Maritime Museum across the road.

Plymouth is one of the stops on the ‘Albemarle Loop’, which is a suggested side cruise for boats heading up and down the Intra Coastal Waterway.    Each of the stops is only half a day sail from the last one, it is very relaxing, and each stop has a completely different flavor, you will not be bored.

That evening as we relaxed before supper, we reflected on our lifestyle and how fortunate we are to live in an area with such a variety of unspoiled destinations.    The Albemarle Sound, affectionately known as the ‘Inner Banks’, where the ‘Albemarle Loop’ beckons cruisers, offers miles and miles of undeveloped coastline and is amazingly undiscovered, except by a few fishermen, kayakers and cruisers.

As a Realtor, I am always happy to introduce visitors to the charms of this area and when the visitor wants to become a resident, I am happy to help smooth that process as well.

         Brian FitzSimons


Cell: 252-312-9042


OystoberFest On The Outer Banks of North Carolina

Oysters and the CarolinaEast Life Style

Oyster Fest on the Outer Banks`

Oyster roasts were and still today an enjoyable benefit of growing up and living in coastal northeastern North Carolina.  Not until this weekend did I know only five species of oysters are harvested in the U.S.  The Crassostrea Virginicas or the Atlantic Oyster is the species harvested on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and provides most of the world’s oysters.  Their taste depends on where they live, the water they filter and how they are handled.  In other words, like real estate, the taste is local.  Only 75 minutes from Edenton, North Carolina, the Outer Banks are part of our CarolinaEast LifeStyle.  

The Outer Banks Oystoberfest featured many different tasting oysters harvested along North Carolina’s coast.  Sweet tasting and salty oysters were served for our enjoyment along with numerous craft beers.  As we walked around and sampled the fair, we began to notice who were experienced shuckers and who were there because they wanted to volunteer and help their community.  I am a raving fan of any kind of bread so I was particularly drawn to and enjoyed the donut size pizzas made with an oyster topped with a great pizza sauce.

This event is just another illustration of the desirable CarolinaEast Life Style.   You can spend a fun afternoon at many nearby events return home to sleep in your own bed.  Let our experienced Realtors and lifelong residents of Edenton, North Carolina show you how our CarolinaEast quality of life is one you will enjoy.  We have many beautiful waterfront homes that provide a lifestyle like no other.  Boating, fishing, sailing are just a few 0f the water sports you can enjoy on the Albemarle Sound and Chowan River.  If kayaking or canoeing are more to your liking, we have miles of creeks and rivers with easy access for your enjoyment.

We have over 140 years of experience selling the CarolinaEast Life Style.  For more information on homes and lots for sale:

Give us a call:   252-482- 2028

Email us:

Visit our website for all current listing:



Selecting a Lender

cropped-JD-Picture-1.jpg JD Signature Logo Green

Selecting a Lender


Your Realtor will be helpful in selecting a mortgage lender that best fits your needs.  His experience with various lenders will assure you of finding a mortgage professional that will know how to move the process from application to closing.

What’s Important

It’s important to check the rates of at least three lenders and interview all of them to make sure they are a good fit and will work hard for you during the buying process and will be responsive to your calls and emails.  You want a lender that is a problem solver and not a product pusher.

Red Flags

A lender that does not walk you through the entire process and is slow to return your calls is a lender you need to fire immediately.  If you are not a priority for him, your loan may be delayed thus delaying your closing.

Action Items

Interview at least three lenders and ask them to pre-qualify you for a mortgage.  During the interview, be sure to use the checklist provided.


  • The lender selected was professional and represented a reputable company.
  • I liked his personality and feel like we are a good fit and he has my best interest at heart.
  • My lender is a good communicator.
  • He walked me through the entire mortgage process and help me set expectations.
  • He disclosed all fees and cost upfront.
  • He is responsive to my calls and emails and I feel like my loan will be a priority.
  • My lender takes time to answer all my questions.
  • My lender knows my Realtor and they have worked together on other transactions.
  • He is high on technology and lots of our work together can be handled online.

Links To Additional Resources

Cornerstone Home Lending, Inc.

BB&T Home Mortgage

Wells Fargo Mortgage